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Beyond the Book:  Always growing with SAP Personas 3.0

As a Senior Education Consultant for SAP, I teach a number of courses including ABAP, Web Dynpro for ABAP, and Forms & Personas 3.0.  When you teach these classes, you have to know your stuff.  At the same time, as I interact with learners from all different businesses I learn a lot about the issues they’re facing and the best practices they’ve developed.

This blog is for SAP Personas 3.0 developers, development consultants, power users, and administrators.  I’ll discuss SAP’s user experience strategy, Design Thinking and the SAP Screen Personas 3.0 Solution.  And, as the title says, I’ll try to go “beyond the book” to share insights I’ve picked up in the classroom.

First, let’s discuss SAP’s user experience strategy.  When you work with SAP’s enterprise application software, some of the business processes can be daunting and even overwhelming, and it takes time, training and money to learn them.

But, what if we could take those ERP transactions that are using SAP GUI screens and make them simpler, friendlier and even user specific?  For example, we could use Personas 3.0 with transactions:  SMEN – SAP Easy Access GUI screen, VA01 – Create Sales Order, ME21N – Create Purchase Orders, HCM transaction, etc.

Note:  Currently SAP Personas 3.0 does not work with Web Dynpro, BSP, CRM, and SRM.

For example, with SAP Personas 3.0, we could take the Notifications transaction (IW21) and streamline it from what originally would take several SAP GUI screens, multiple mouse clicks and data entry to just a few or a couple of friendly SAP Personas 3.0 flavors, fewer mouse clicks and less or even automated data entry.

This would revolutionize the business process and reduce training costs so that tasks become more like consumer grade operations that are commonly used on our smart phones, tablets and desktops.  In addition, we could take these transactions and tailor them to what a specific user group, sales person, or manager may need without changing the application software that runs underneath the SAP Personas 3.0 flavors.  Ultimately, this improves the SAP user’s experience.

Now, let’s discuss Design Thinking.  To improve the SAP user’s experience, we must consider Design Thinking. The process requires a logical effort that takes you successfully from the original SAP GUI screen transaction to the SAP Personas 3.0 flavor.

First, the users and the developers have to collaborate with one another to ensure proper input, feedback, and goal definition. It is essential that all the key players are involved with this design process because in the end the product has to meet the desired goal, otherwise the project is doomed.  So, we begin by determining which transaction to start with, and we document this process all the way through so that we have a guided reference to carry us to the finish line.

Then we listen and observe the users to determine what tasks are required to successfully use that transaction.  We gather ideas on how we can tailor the user’s steps and the SAP GUI screens to just what the user wants and needs.  Perhaps we automate data entry or capture text or data from certain fields to pass to a BAPI called via the Java Script.  Java Script can be used in the SAP Personas Scripting editor to enhance the flavor’s capability.  Maybe, we merge tabs and hide others that have information that is not needed by that particular user.  Data presented on the SAP Personas flavors could be different for each group of users, managers, or sales representatives.

All of this effort must be documented to ensure balance and success.  Sometimes there’s a trade off because not all the whistles and bells can be applied to the new Personas flavor, so it would be a great idea to have both the user and the developer sign off on the project at the end.

Finally, let’s discuss the SAP Screen Personas 3.0 Solution, after we build the SAP Personas flavor and test it.  Ultimately the administrator would have to go to the SAP Personas flavor’s administration transactions to maintain the flavor.

The administrator has many transactions to choose from, but the most common one is “/N/PERSONAS/ADMIN”.  This transaction takes you to the SAP Personas Administration Dashboard where the administrator can maintain the SAP Personas flavors, Versions, Themes, Resources (images), Roles and Users.

The Administrator could determine what SAP Personas flavors are in use or not in use and determine that flavor’s version. They could also copy, delete, transport, export, and translate the flavors here.

Themes could be searched, imported and assigned to a role or a transaction. 

Resources (images) could be uploaded, set as public or private and determined where used.

The administrator could also maintain roles, manage role assignments and display user configuration.  Personas 3.0 roles are a subset of universal SAP ERP Role Maintenance Roles (Transaction:  PFCG).

If you’d like to learn more, SAP Education offers the following class for SAP Personas 3.0:

  SAPX09 (3 Days) – SAP Screen Personas 3.0 Development